As the UK prepares to mark Remembrance Day on Wednesday, our Trust has been announced as a 'Veteran Aware' trust.
Our Trust is one of four trusts which achieved the Veteran Aware accreditation this week, awarded by the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA) to trusts that are leading the way in improving NHS care for members of the Armed Forces community.
The announcement of these four trusts brings the total number of Veteran Aware providers across the UK to 58. Many other organisations are working towards the accreditation.
Staff will be trained to be aware of veterans’ specific needs and make past and present servicemen and women aware of appropriate charities or NHS services which could help them, such as mental health services or support with financial or benefit claims.
Our Trust will deliver care in line with the NHS commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, ensuring that the Armed Forces community does not face disadvantage.
Simon Gilby, Chief Executive, said: “We are very proud of our Veterans’ Mental Health Service and that we have been awarded the ‘Veteran Aware’ accreditation. Our Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Liaison and Intervention service (TILS) and High Intensity Service (HIS) teams work closely with local voluntary, charity and community organisations to ensure a holistic approach to the mental health support for all veterans. It’s vitally important that ex-armed forces personnel are being well supported for their mental health, not just on Remembrance Day but all year round.”
As a VCHA-accredited trust, posters will be displayed in clinics and public waiting areas urging anyone who has served in the Armed Forces to make themselves known to staff.
The VCHA was inspired by the heroism of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC, a doctor who gave his life rescuing men on the battlefields of the First World War.
In 2014, orthopaedic surgeon Professor Tim Briggs CBE wrote The Chavasse Report on improving armed forces and veteran care while raising NHS standards and establishing a support network of healthcare was one of its recommendations. The resulting VCHA works closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Improvement, the Ministry of Defence, the Office for Veterans Affairs and service charities.
Professor Briggs, Chair of GIRFT, NHS National Director for Clinical Improvement and Chair of the VCHA, said: “I’m very proud to welcome four more NHS trusts to the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance. They have all made a clear and important commitment to the servicemen and women of this country and their families, and it’s great to be able to recognise their hard work through this accreditation.”
“I am particularly delighted to announce the accreditation of our first Veteran Aware ambulance service, which is setting an excellent example to other ambulance services to follow. Several other ambulance services are already well underway to becoming accredited as Veteran Aware.”